Mid-Century Modern Landscape Design In Portland

Mid-Century modern homes are fairly rare in Portland. Many that used to exist have been remodeled beyond recognition. So if you are one of the few to have a true MCM gem, you want to do things right.

Landscape design is a big part of the equation. How do you landscape your atomic ranch?

The key is to respect and highlight the home's natural lines. If you have one of the Rummers in Garden Home, you don't want to hide it behind a hedge or busy planting beds.  And while we love a graceful curving path as much as anyone- it probably won't complement your home's strong modern lines.

There are many landscape styles that can work with a mid century home, they just have to be employed in the right way. That's where we come in.  Ben Bowen, landscape designer at Ross NW Watergardens, loves mid century modern.

Contact us today for a free consultation.


Elements of Mid-Century Landscape Design:

  • Hardscape. Walkways, paths, patios, and steps have simple lines. The percentage of hardscape to softscape is often higher than in other design styles. Materials may be mixed to add texture. Concrete and simple pavers are often utilized.
  • Wood. Wood is often paired with concrete, even integrated in the same element. Fences and screens may have horizontal or geometric patterns.
  • Metal. Steel edging, Corten planters, and metal trellises are staples. Metal is clean but also acquires a natural patina, perfect for the modern garden
  • Plants. Any plant palette can be used. However, plants with strong structures and bold colors are often best. The structure of the plants chosen can reinforce the strong lines of hardscape. Bold color and texture can add life and variety.
  • Water. Water features are usually formal fountains or reflecting pools. A reflecting pool uses water as just another flat surface along concrete or pavers. However, the dark cool stillness of water adds an element that no hardscape can.
  • Boulders. Not as essential as in some other styles. When used they may be striking upright focal points. Alternatively, they may serve as "islands", quietly floating in a simple bed of decomposed granite.
  • Lawn. The MCM design aesthetic emphasizes simplicity and practicality. Lawn needs to have a purpose or it should be replaced.
Mid-Century architecture was frequently employed in residential structures with the goal of bringing modernism into America’s post-war suburbs. This style emphasized creating structures with ample windows and open floor plans, with the intention of opening up interior spaces and bringing the outdoors in.
— Wikipedia